The Hollywood Reporter is posting a conversation with an anonymous member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences daily until the Oscars on Sunday. On Wednesday’s post, this Academy member went in on “Selma”:
First, let me say that I’m tired of all of this talk about “snubs” – I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there’s no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don’t think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance – they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they’re not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn’t that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I’ve got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying “I can’t breathe” [at their New York premiere] – I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up shit?
The Academy may not be the cast of “Deliverance,” but its typical member is an old white man: it’s made up of more than 6,000 members, 94 percent of whom are white and 76 percent of whom are men, whose average is 63 years old.
“Selma” was nominated for Best Picture–and was the only one out of eight films in the category that focused on the lives of characters of color. Five out of the five nominees for Best Actor are white men; the same is true for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. And five out of the five nominees for Best Actress are white women; the same is true for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.